Following Juventus 30 years ago was a lot different to how it is today. The internet, social networks, live matches and live satellite broadcasts hadn't even been conceived of. Television existed but there were very few channels – commercial TV was just entering the market – and not everything was shown in Italy. The desire to follow your team at all costs however meant you could overcome any hurdle...
On 8 December 1985 Juventus played in the Intercontinental Cup final in Tokyo. It was a momentous occasion.
Michele Massaro, a Bianconeri fan from Calabria, did some research and learned that the match would be broadcast but not for everyone: "The day before the game, 7 December 1985, I read that it would only be broadcast by one television channel, and only in Lombardy. And from 4 am onwards."
It would be shown again, albeit at 8:30 pm on Rai1 the following evening. And, as if that weren't bad enough, even the radio – which people used a lot back then to stay up to date with football results – wasn't providing live commentary.
A tragedy. How could he follow Juventus on the other side of the world? Michele and his friends from Scalea were ready to do anything not to miss that match.
"You can't miss a game like that, the title of club world champions was up for grabs!"
Michele had a think and remembered that a close friend of his, Giorgio, had moved to Milan a few years earlier.
"We didn't give it a moment's further thought. I called Giorgio and made arrangements with him so that he'd describe the match for us live."
In fact, even better: Giorgio had positioned the phone receiver by his television, so he and his friends followed the match via cable, albeit the telephone cable!
On 8 December, the night before the match, Michele's house became a stand in Turin's Stadio Comunale: "Twenty of us got together and after a plate of spaghetti and lots of cigarettes, we were ready to call Giorgio."
Clearly they all decided to split the following month's phone bill, which was one of the most expensive he'd ever received. "I still remember it: we were all sat in the lounge and our friend, phone in hand, told us what was happening."
Argentinos Juniors v Juventus would be a memorable game. The scoreline was 2-2 after 90 minutes. The game needed extra time and then penalties. The phone bill got even bigger but Michele and his friends didn't care one jot.
"We were silent, focused on every comment coming from Giorgio's TV." By that stage, in Scalea just like in Milan, it was dawn. In Tokyo, the lottery of penalties was just about to begin. Up stepped Michel Platini. It was the winning penalty. Through the receiver came the commentator's voice:
"GOAL! JUVENTUS ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!"
A party began at Giorgio's and Michele's houses: "We went out into the street at 7 am and there was no one around but we still celebrated with flags and scarves, honking our car horns. What a night!"
Thanks to the phone and Giorgio, his friend from Milan, Michele and other Juventus fans like him didn't miss a moment of a unique event in Bianconeri history. And who cares how much the phone bill came to!
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